French Revolution Notes

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Simon Schama’s Power of Art, Jacques-Louis David (1748-1825)

David is associated with neoclassicism and the Enlightenment

“Death of Marat,” 1793
“A painting both beautiful and repulsive”
“Unforgettable masterpiece and unforgettable crime”

The Marriage of Figaro, play by Beaumarchais, 1778
Denounces aristocratic privilege, the king called it detestable

“Oath of the Horatii,” 1784
Paradigm of neoclassical art
Three brothers from the Roman Horatii family agree to fight with three brothers from the Alba Longa Curiatii family. Theme: sacrifice for the good of the country

France financial meltdown, Economic crisis, initiated by the cost of intervening in the American Revolution, exacerbated by a regressive system of taxation

“Portrait of Antoine and Marie-Anne Lavoisier,” 1788
French nobleman known as the “father of modern chemistry” Was accused by Marat of selling watered-down tobacco and other crimes and guillotined

“Oath of the Tennis Court,” 1792
Pledge signed by 576 of the 577 members of the Third Estate who were locked out of a meeting of the Estates-General on June 20, 1789. They used a tennis court as a conference room. The Estates General was a legislative assembly made up of First Estate (nobles), Second Estate (clergy) and Third Estate (commoners). Robespierre, a lawyer from the Third Estate declared that the Third Estate was the only legitimate body. They reconstituted themselves as a National Assembly. The king initially opposed this but was forced to acknowledge its authority.

The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen – fundamental document of the French Revolution, stated that rights of man are universal.

Storming of the Bastille
Medieval fortress and prison
Signified royal authority in the center of Paris
Stormed on July 14, 1789

“The Lictors Bring to Brutus the Bodies of His Sons,” 1789 Brutus executes sons for plotting to bring back the monarchy.

The French National Anthem
“La Marseillaise,”...
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